Friday, 2 December 2022

Book Review: Savage Realms Monthly November 2022

My review of the latest issue of Savage Realms Monthly:


Edited by William Miller

Literary Rebel, 73 pages. Paperback

 Savage Realms Monthly has been running for almost two years, publishing three stories per issue with an impressive regularity. And, under the editorship of William Miller, some outstanding tales it has published too.

This issue is no exception.

It kicks off, almost literally, with a true Norse adventure by Garrett Boatman. In Ragnar’s Bane our barbaric protagonist, King Ragnar Broadaxe is a giant of a man even amongst his Viking subjects, out raiding for plunder when he is cast onto a storm-swept island, where he encounters a beautiful woman he soon learns is a witch – a witch imprisoned by a powerful wizard who she begs Ragnar to kill for her. It’s a request, which along with all the promised wealth this will bring to him, Ragnar is unable to turn down. Of course, in the event this task is far from as straightforward at it looks at first glance and its conclusion far from what Ragnar expects. A well-constructed rollicking tale, full of grim twists and turns for our rapacious hero.

Contrastingly, the second tale, To Outlast the Moon by Jared Kerr, is in a deceptively far more civilised setting, the ancestral home of General Jalan Hazim. Although he is the Empire’s most successful soldier, now turned sixty-one by tradition he must honourably die in one-to-one combat to make way for younger men. To compel him to comply the Emperor has already sent an anonymous knight-executioner, along with an imperial witness to make sure everything is carried out according to law. Hazim is prepared to die, though he is equally determined to do so defending himself to the best of his ability, knowing that even if he defeats his first opponent another will be sent a few days later to make sure his death is accomplished. This is a touching tale of honour, the passing of time and pathos, with again some twists to what otherwise would seem a straightforward tale.

The final entry is City of the Forgotten Kings by H. E. Johnston, and to me a more traditional swords and sorcery yarn than the others,  in which two thieves, hearing of a great treasure, head for the feared realm of the City of the Forgotten Kings, whose ruins teem with the ghosts of its long-dead past inhabitants. The main protagonists are the worldly-wise female warrior Tanet, deadly at swordplay, and her companion, Ghede of Zabal, “a small man with a wiry frame and a grin that held more secrets than mirth…” Tales about looters of lost cities are always entertaining, the more dangerous the environment the better – and few come more dangerous than the City of the Forgotten Kings!

So, again three highly entertaining stories, all well-written, with inventive plots and colourful settings and convincing characters.

David A. Riley


Saturday, 26 November 2022

Our new chapbook: A Handful of Zombies: Tales of the Restless Dead now available in print as well as kindle

After several expressions of interest in a print version of our new e-chapbook A Handful of Zombies: Tales of the Restless Dead we have now published it in softcover, priced at just £5.00. If this experiment in chapbooks proves popular enough we intend to publish more in the future by other authors.

All four stories in this collection cover a wide range of tropes within the zombie genre. 

Dead Ronnie and I is a tale of high adventure by plane and sea, with an abortive escape by our protagonist to the as yet untainted Isles of Scotland. This was originally published in Sanitarium Magazine No 44 in 2016.

His Pale Blue Eyes is probably the most traditional take of zombie stories today, featuring a young girl’s determined search for her parents during a zombie apocalypse. It’s a story, though, about conditioning and how what someone is taught can radically affect their behaviour. Is the horror in this the shambling undead or the girl herself? See what you think. This first appeared in Bite-Sized Horror edited by Johnny Mains for Obverse Books in 2011.

By contrast Right For You Now, originally published in Weirdbook Zombie Annual No 3 in 2021, harks back to the original concept of the zombie in Voodoo-haunted Haiti, though this tale is set in present-day Britain. It’s a combination of a crime story, revenge, and a man’s obsessive fascination with age-old practices.

Our final tale, Romero’s Children, is more in the way of a science fiction story. The zombies here are certainly the most different. For a start off they are not dead but have been granted near immortality by a drug that swept the world with its promise to stop aging. Alas for those caught up in the frenzied demand to use it, though, its side effects were such that they would have been better off dead. This story appeared in 2010 in The Seventh Black Book of Horror edited by the late Charles Black and was subsequently picked up by American editor Paula Guran for her 2012 anthology Extreme Zombies.

I would like to thank my friend Jim Pitts who has kindly allowed me to use his illustrations both for the covers and for the interior.


Monday, 21 November 2022

New e-chapbook available from PUP: A Handful of Zombies

At PUP we are experimentng with a new line in cheap e-chapbooks, which will be available online for £1.99 each..
The first is now available, with a cover and interior illustrations by Jim Pitts. Called A Handful of Zombies: Tales of the Restless Dead e-chapbook number 1 includes four stories by David A. Riley: Dead Ronnie and I, His Pale Blue Eyes, Right For You Now, and Romero's Children.  £1.99  $2.99


Sunday, 20 November 2022

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 5 now available in paperback and kindle

Cover: Jim Pitts


I am pleased to announce that Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 5, presented by Jim Pitts and me, is now available as a paperback and kindle e-book. 

The contents are: 

The Rotted Land by Charles Gramlich

Skulls for Silver by Harry Elliott

For the Light by Gustavo Bondoni

People of the Lake by Lorenzo D. Lopez

Free Diving for Leviathan Eggs by Tais Teng

The Black Well by Darin Hlavaz

Degg and the Undead by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Mistress of the Marsh by David Dubrow

Silver and Gold by Earl W. Parrish

Bridge of Sorrows by Dev Agarwal

Prisoners of Devil Dog City by Adrian Cole

Of the eleven writers included this time, five hail from the United States, four from the United Kingdom, one from The Netherlands and one from Argentina. 

This is our biggest volume so far, with over 300 pages, though the price has stayed the same. 


Monday, 31 October 2022

The latest issue of Lovecraftian: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror

I received the latest issue of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldtrich Horror today, appropriately enough Halloween.

This issue includes my 12,000 word story The Psychic Investigator, which is set in my fictitious Grudge End. 

Sunday, 16 October 2022

My story The Psychic Investigator is in the next issue of Lovecraftiana Magazine

I am pleased to see that my story The Psychic Investigator will be in the next issue of Lovecraftiana Magazine (Halloween 2022).

I have had a number of stories in the Lovecraftiana Magazine but these have always, till now, been reprints. This is the first brand-new story I have purposefully written for the magazine to appear in it.

Though the title might not sound Lovecraftian, believe me it is. It is also set in one of my favourite fictitious places: Grudge End.

Thursday, 6 October 2022

Inside Man

We watched all four episodes of Inside Man last night after having read so many glowing reports about it.
I must admit to having mixed views about it. The parts set in the United States, especially with both Stanley Tucci and Askins Estimond were great - fascinating and amusing - and very well written and acted. The two characters are so different they make an engrossing double act. But the English scenes with David Tennant were often irritating and downright daft. Normally I like Tennant's acting but in this he seemed over the top, irrational and the set up for the storyline in which he is involved seemed unrealistically contrived and unbelievable. As for his son - the less said the better.
Although I would have given all of the US scenes 5 out of 5, I could only offer a rather grudging two for the rest. If there is a second season and it is predominantly about the two Americans on Death Row I would look forward to watching it. But, please, no more "Sexy Vicar"!

Friday, 30 September 2022

Submissions open for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 5 at midnight tonight

Submissions open for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 5 at midnight tonight until midnight on the 31st October. 

Payment is £25 per story regardless of length plus one contributor's copy of the paperback. The book will be published as a paperback and ebook. If a hardcover version is published we will pay an additional £25. Please send your submissions as attachments (doc or docx) headed  
"Submission - Swords & Sorceries 5" 

You can send in more than one submission, but we will not accept more than one story per writer. Please only send one story at a time.

Although we prefer original stories we are prepared to consider reprints. Just let us know where and when it was previously published. 

You can send in simultaneous submissions, but let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere as soon as you can.

There is no limit on the size of submissions.  

There is no need to tell me anything about yourself because the only thing that matters is the story. 

All rejections and acceptances will be sent out by email by the end of the first week in November. Please don't enquire about your submission before then.

And good luck!

In the past we have received a number of stories that may be fantasy but are not swords and sorcery. If you are unsure what the swords and sorcery genre is, why not get a better idea by checking out volumes 1 - 4:

Also check our dedicated facebook group: 


The contents of Volume One are:



TROLLS ARE DIFFERENT - Susan Murrie Macdonald




RED - Chadwick Ginther


The cover and all the interior artwork is by Jim Pitts.

The contents of Volume 2 are:

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole 

Illustrations by Jim Pitts.


The contents of Volume 3 are:
Sorcerous Vengeance by Lorenzo D. Lopez 
Seal Snatchers of Jorsaleem by Tais Teng
When the Gods Send You Rats by Chadwick Ginther 
Mother's Bones by Carson Ray
In the Lair of the Snake-Witch by Darin Hlavaz
The Rains of Barofonn by Mike Chinn
Wardark by Craig Herbertson
The Foliage by Rab Foster 
In the Lair of the Moonmen by Jon Hansen 
Sailing on the Thieves' Tide by Adrian Cole
Illustrations by Jim Pitts.



Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 4 contains eleven tales:

In the Iron Woods by Dev Agarwal

My People Were Fair and Wore Stars in Their Hair by Andrew Darlington

At Sea by Geoff Hart 

The Flesh of Man by Frank Sawielijew

City at the Mouth of Chaos by Adrian Cole

In the Belly of the Beast by Edward Ahern

The Tracks of the Pi Nereske by Wendy Nikel

Slaves of the Monolith by Paul D. Batteiger

The Green Wood by David Dubrow

Demonic by Phil Emery

The Whips of Malmac by H. R. Laurence


Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Welgar the Cursed to be published in Swords & Heroes edited by Lyndon Perry


I can now reveal that my story Welgar the Cursed will appear in Swords & Heroes edited by Lyndon Perry, probably in January next year.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

An Interview and a reprint of my story Hanuman are now available on Meghan's Haunted House of Books

I am very pleased that a brand new author interview and a reprint of my story Hanuman (first published in Phantasmagoria Magazine) are live now on Meghan's Haunted House of Books. Just click on the links posted below to access them:

Author Interview

Hanuman by David A. Riley

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

New sword and sorcery story accepted for publication

The good news today is that I have had another sword and sorcery story accepted for publication in an anthology to be published early next year. 

The story is called Welgar the Cursed and I'll be releasing more information about the anthology in the near future.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy



With eleven great swords and sorcery tales, and interior and cover art by award-winning artist Jim Pitts, this series is going from strength to strength.

"The Sword & Sorcery renaissance continues with the release of volume four of David A. Riley's ongoing anthology series Swords and Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy. Eleven total stories. Out of the eleven authors, five are returning. Many with recurring characters. Most notably, Adrian Cole returns with another new Voidal story. As if that wasn't enough, the book boasts another striking cover by the esteemed Jim Pitts. Pitts artwork also graces many of the pages within too!" Richard Fisher, reviewing Volume 4 on amazon. 

Greyscale version
Full colour version

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Review: Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography by R. B. Russell

This review was published in Phantasmagoria magazine #21 August 2022 


By R. B. Russell

Tartarus Press 2022 Hardcover

Ray Russell’s highly readable biography of Robert Aickman gives an unparalleled glimpse into a life that contained more psychological complications than is usual even amongst authors of “strange stories”. It is a life full of contradictions, not least being the unreliability of his own version of events, to the extent of omitting any mention of his wife of fourteen years in his two autobiographies. And his dislike of technology, “experts” and our modern age was so strong that he never owned a radio, television or a car. Instead, living in London he frequently attended theatres, opera and the ballet, and for quite some time wrote opera reviews.

Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography is a warts and all biography, which is not, I must confess, what I expected from Tartarus Press, which has published Aickman’s entire opus over recent years. All credit to them and to Ray Russell for being unflinchingly objective in the biography of a writer whose writings he and Tartarus Press obviously value immensely.

It is a fact that throughout his life Aickman’s uncompromising views on so many things caused him to have some bitter enemies, such as L.T. C Rolt, with whom he co-founded the Inland Waterways Association in 1946, and who Aickman successfully worked with for many years until an intractable divergence of views on what the objectives of the IWA should be caused a lasting rift. Indeed, it was so bad that at a dinner party in 1974, shortly before his death, Rolt claimed Aickman was “the most evil man I have ever known.” Which is a sad reflection on how their long-time collaboration had descended into such acrimony.

Alas for Aickman, Rolt was not the only enemy he made, and it’s suggested this was why, despite all the work he put into the IWA, Aickman never received any official recognition in the form of some kind of honour, whether an OBE or a knighthood.

Of course, for most of us, Aickman is mainly known for his stories. Significantly, although he wrote extensively for the IWA, it was only when he developed a relationship with the writer Elizabeth Jane Howard the first of the stories he became famous for saw publication, when they co-authored the collection We Are for the Dark. Even then books of short stories by little or unknown writers were rare and it saw publication by Jonathan Cape only because of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s earlier success with her novel The Beautiful Visit, which Cape had published. The collection was made up of six stories, three by both contributors, though who wrote which was not revealed at the time.

Since then, of course, numerous collections of stories by Aickman have been published over the years, and for quite some time he was the highly respected editor of the Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories. He also went on to receive recognition within the genre and was awarded the prize for Best Short Story for Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal in 1975 at the First World Fantasy Awards in Providence, Rhode Island, though unfortunately he was unable to attend. For some reason his visa was declined by the United States. The following year he was Guest of Honour at the British Fantasy Society’s annual convention, FantasyCon.

Unfortunately, Aickman’s distrust of experts and modern technology led him to refuse chemotherapy when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1980, preferring instead to take homeopathic remedies. He died the following year aged 66.

Phantasmagoria magazine